Weekend blood drive in SLC to support sickle cell patients

Feb 9, 2024, 2:50 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 11:46 am

Blood donor...

Debbie Millet donates blood at the American Red Cross Murray location on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Red Cross of Utah is partnering with Calvary Baptist Church to sponsor a blood drive this weekend to help people living with sickle cell anemia.

Sickle cell disease is seen primarily in people of African descent, according to the American Red Cross.

“While donors from all racial or ethnic groups can be a match for a sickle cell patient, about one-third of all African Americans possess unique blood characteristics that best match those with the sickle cell disease,” a news release from the American Red Cross stated.

Sickle cell blood drive location

The weekend blood drive is focused on blood donations from the Black community. It takes place at the Calvary Baptist Church gym on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church is located at 1090 S. State Street.

“We’re thankful at Calvary Baptist Church for our ongoing relationship with the American Red Cross of Utah. Our goal is to increase the number of Black blood donors who can help sickle cell patients in our community,” said church pastor Rev. Dr. Oscar T. Moses. “People with sickle cell disease need blood transfusions. We hope our community will donate and encourage others too.”

The disease can be very painful and changes in the seasons can trigger that pain which increases demand for blood transfusions.

Blood shortage could affect sickle cell, cancer patients

The Red Cross news release said there is currently a nationwide emergency blood shortage due to a 20-year low in the number of blood donors. This ongoing shortage could threaten treatments for patients relying on blood transfusions, such as sickle cell and cancer.

“Calvary Baptist Church is instrumental in helping us reach these potential donors and diversify our blood supply,” said Jeremiah Lafranca, executive director of the American Red Cross of Utah Greater Salt Lake Chapter. “Our partnership with Calvary Baptist Church shows the significant impact we can make when working together.”

If you would like to donate but cannot make it to this weekend’s blood drive, you can schedule an appointment through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The news release said everyone who donates blood, platelets or plasma from Feb. 1-29 will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift card via email. Visit RedCrossBlood.org/Heart for more details.

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Weekend blood drive in SLC to support sickle cell patients